Are you getting your fill of pumpkin foods this fall? It’s pumpkin season, and everywhere you look there’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins- everything pumpkin! Which is a good thing, because it turns out that the delicious pumpkin is actually a superfood. For real! Here’s some of the great stuff that’s in pumpkin:
Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is what gives the pumpkin it’s rich orange color. It converts to vitamin A in your body, which is important for healthy vision and a strong immune system. It may help prevent cataracts, and its skin renewal properties also make it an anti-aging agent. Beta-carotene is also a strong anti-oxidant, which helps prevent cancer and heart disease.
Fiber: Pumpkin is full of fiber which is essential for digestive health and controlling your cholesterol. Fiber helps you feel full with fewer calories, and keeps you feeling full for a longer time.
Potassium: Do you get annoying and painful muscle cramps? You might need more potassium in your diet. Potassium is important for muscle function and electrolyte balance, and also helps regulate blood pressure. Most people know that bananas are high in potassium; now you know you can get it from pumpkin, too!
Vitamin C: As everyone knows, vitamin C is essential for immune health.
Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds make a delicious crunchy snack, and you can enjoy them without any guilt because they’re so good for you! Pumpkin seeds contain plant-based chemicals known as phytosterols that help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol. They also have tryptophan- an essential amino acid that produces serotonin- the happy hormone. So eating pumpkin seeds can also put you into a good mood.
Make the most of the season! Feel good about indulging in the pumpkin treats that are all around us for the next couple of months. Fresh pumpkin will give you the maximum health benefits, but canned pumpkin is great, too, and won’t limit you to this time of year. Just make sure you get pure pumpkin and not canned pumpkin mix which is full of added sugar.
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